Investor-founder relation in India is one of master-slave: Ashneer Grover

‘I am the rebel slave who must be hung by the tree so none of the other slaves can dare to be like me ever again,’ says co-founder of fintech unicorn BharatPe, Asheer Grover in resignation letter


bharatpe | Investors | Tech founders

In his resignation letter to the Board, BharatPe co-founder Ashneer Grover has hit out at the investors in his company. In the wee hours of Tuesday, the embattled founder of the fintech unicorn quit as the managing director and one of the directors of the Board.

Shedding light on his fraught relationship with the company’s investors, Grover wrote: “You treat us founders as slaves – pushing us to build multi-billion-dollar businesses and cutting us down at will. Investor-founder relation in India is one of master-slave. I am the rebel slave who must be hung by the tree so none of the other slaves can dare to be like me ever again.”

“None of you, including the ones based in India, have ever been to our office even once, since the pandemic turned our lives upside down and sought to suffocate the economy. Not even once. Not Micky. Not Harshjit. Not Mohit. Not Teru San. Not Rahul. Not Deven. No one. None of you even turned-up despite an invitation for the inauguration of our new office,” he added.

Grover was referring to Micky Malka of Ribbit Capital, Harshjit Sethi of Sequoia, Teruhide Sato of Beenext, Rahul Vijay Kishore of Coatue, and Deven Parekh of Insight Partners.

Ribbit Capital owns 11 per cent of shareholding in the company, Beenext holds 9.6 per cent, Sequoia 19.6 per cent, Coatue 12.4 per cent, according to data from Tracxn. Insight Partners holds around 10 per cent of the company, according to media reports.

Grover has resigned amid a tussle in the company where Grover has found himself on the opposite side of the Board, key investors in the company and his co-founders.

Meanwhile, the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) has refused to grant emergency relief to Grover from a governance review being conducted by the company, according to sources.

Earlier this month, he had filed an arbitration plea earlier this month to stop a probe into alleged financial mismanagement in the company. The BharatPe MD, who went on leave last month till March-end, is also said to be seeking indemnity against future action by the company through the plea.

The company and Grover are also reportedly in talks to settle the matter by buying out the latter’s stake in the unicorn. Grover’s stake of 9.5 per cent in the company was worth Rs 1,915 crore based on the last funding round in August, when BharatPe was valued at $2.8 billion.

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